Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther (2006) (1 Viewer)

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Hopefully this doesn't make anyone too angry:

Roscoe reminds me of Fleetwood Mac. His vocals, that sort of chasing/driving beat, those little tight fills, rhythm guitar all overdrive-ey. Maybe not the intro, but from about 30 seconds in, I dunno man, Fleetwood Mac vibe.
Its good but its not Fleetwood Mac good
 

Lili Marlene

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Right, I hate this. Anachronistic, professional music made by vibe merchants with nothing to say about anything, it's like listening to a travel brochure. Fleetwood Mac at least had the decency to be drug-addicted lunatics going off the deep end.

I'll give it a 4/10 because its very, very shiny and probably a good album for people into microphones and plugins.

On the plus side, this kind of bearded, mountain man thing is so hackneyed it can be made by AI these days.
 

ann post

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Right, I hate this. Anachronistic, professional music made by vibe merchants with nothing to say about anything, it's like listening to a travel brochure. Fleetwood Mac at least had the decency to be drug-addicted lunatics going off the deep end.

I'll give it a 4/10 because its very, very shiny and probably a good album for people into microphones and plugins.

On the plus side, this kind of bearded, mountain man thing is so hackneyed it can be made by AI these days.

3 listens.
 

prefuse

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I knew the name midlake but didn't know the music. I quiet like the album over all. A few gripes, mainly the sameiness of the vocals. Theres a moany, whiney sound to them, which gets a bit irritating. And the same type of melodies & harmonies are used on every song. It makes the songs sound homogeneous, & difficult to separate. I see Rumours mentioned in comparison...i take it they mean sonically. It does have that dry 70s LA production sound, but more rustic. I don't hear any songs with the pop craftsmanship of rumours though. I must admit I've never listened to rumours all the way through, but I know the hits of course.


1 - Roscoe - 4:41

Two seconds in & I’m thinking of the MASH theme tune. I like the instrumental breaks. The song feels longer than it is. I think it’s the constant almost motorik drums, the chugging guitars & the vocals having the same tone & delivery throughout. I like it, not totally sold, but a good start.


2 - Bandits - 4:04

Lovely musical intro. There's so much double tracked vocals that it's strange when you hear a single voice. I’m trying to think of who the vocals remind me of…it’s kind of like Tom Yorke does Americana. I like the song. There's another really nice instrumental section from 2:52 – 3:15. Yeah, it’s a good un.


3 - Head Home - 5:46

Nice intro. Lovely autumnal instrumental parts. Some nice harmonies going on. The fuzzy guitar solo is a bit iffy in places, could have done with another take of that. I like this one. Good song.


4 - Van Occupanther - 3:16

Really like this one. There's a slightly different feel to the vocal melody in the verses, which was needed. They were starting to sound a bit too similar. It's Tom Yorke fronting The band. How can I say I really like the flute without sniggering?


5 - Young Bride - 4:57

First impression, I don't like the drums. It’s a cool beat, but I don’t think it works for the song. Not mad about the shaky, quivering strings either. This feels almost abrasive compared to the previous tracks. It's more gritty sounding. Song is okay. As long as it’s all legal & above board.


6 - Branches - 5:03

I'm finding the moany vocals a bit annoying now. It’s a nice song though.
It’s hard for him, but he’s trying. He’s doing his best…..give him a break.


7 - In This Camp - 5:44

I like the slightly baroque, spooky atmosphere of this. Some nice fuzzy electric guitar parts.
This is the third song in a row where he's singing about marrying someone. I'm starting to think you could take the vocals from any of the songs and float them over the top of any other song on the album. They feel interchangeable. I like the song though. One of my favs on the album


8 - We Gathered in Spring - 3:33

The keyboard part is a new addition to the sound. I like it in the verses, but the actual keyboard solo isn’t great, the rhythm of it is annoying. Nice song though.


9 - It Covers the Hillsides - 3:14

A change of season jumping from autumn to summer. Nice upbeat piano chords. I like the slippery harmony guitar @ 1:19. Really like this song. Good vibes. He mentions the ocean so many times you can't help picturing the beach.


10 - Chasing After Deer - 2:42

This gave me a déjà vu. My first time listening to it but I kept thinking I’d heard it before.
The line “you’re always chasing after deer, oh my dear” made me laugh out loud. What a klunker.
Again its fine but it sounds like they could knock this stuff out in their sleep.


11 - You Never Arrived - 1:40
A short track to close the album. Nice song, more of the same really, acoustic guitars, lush harmonies, 70s LA drums.
 

Lili Marlene

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It does sound like 70s wallpaper, yes.

I'm gonna manage 3 listens. Halfway there. Maybe I'll love it by the end.
My opinion did not change.

It's grand. Mood music basically.

Taps into the "my life is a film" mindset where music is made to please the listener and soundtrack their day rather than the "listen to what i have to say" mindset where music is there to make a point. I know which I prefer but they're both equally valid artistic expressions, right?
 

ann post

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Right, I hate this. Anachronistic, professional music made by vibe merchants with nothing to say about anything, it's like listening to a travel brochure. Fleetwood Mac at least had the decency to be drug-addicted lunatics going off the deep end.

I'll give it a 4/10 because its very, very shiny and probably a good album for people into microphones and plugins.

On the plus side, this kind of bearded, mountain man thing is so hackneyed it can be made by AI these days.

I was thinking this morning that this is essentially what roscoe is about and by extension a lot of the album is essentially about this. The whole record is essentially about settling into spaces already made by people who wouldn't understand what the fuck we are at. They keep digging at undestanding these long dead people, while living in the place they built and contemplation how those people would see them.

RE: plugins etc the record is essentially from the start of the era of a few people in a house being able to have affordable studio tech - the lyrics are kindof leaning into that too. Do they have something to say? I'm not sure, I don't know, but they have inadvertently said everythign about music of that time.

I'm not saying you have to listen to it again or anything, Just what you said about it got me thinking about it that way.

Like this is 'marion' - Its essentially some kind of moby dick meets starbucks dual existence.

I saw Marion about to be swallowed up by the sea
Brings both minister and man to marry her
Soon you'll come home late and drunk
And throw a lantern that burns their house down
I tried to warn her but I stopped caring

In that cafe you felt everything attacking you
I tried my best, how the current pulled and buried you
And now you swim with a giant whale that curses you
I wish he'd go
 

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